Leonard R. Powell is a senior associate in the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice as well as the Native American Law Practice.
Mr. Powell represents clients before appellate and trial courts throughout the country in cases raising high-stakes issues of constitutional and statutory interpretation, administrative law, criminal procedure, and federal Indian law, among others. He regularly briefs matters before the United States Supreme Court, where he has won a number of cases on the merits and successfully opposed dozens of petitions for certiorari, including as lead counsel. Mr. Powell also advises clients facing critical strategic decisions at the trial-court level and litigates case-dispositive motions.
As a former elected leader of his federally recognized tribe—the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians—Mr. Powell brings significant experience and a client’s-eye perspective to the firm’s Native American Law Practice. He is an advocate for tribal sovereignty and handles cases that run the full gamut of federal Indian law, including cases about treaty rights, reservation status, preemption of state law, sovereign immunity, land into trust, Indian gaming, and tribal lending. Mr. Powell was a key member of the firm’s team in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which the New York Times noted as “potentially one of the most consequential legal victories for Native Americans in decades.”
Mr. Powell graduated from Harvard Law School in 2016, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He clerked for the Honorable Allison H. Eid of the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the Honorable Beryl A. Howell of the US District Court for the District of Columbia.